Academy Scientific or Technical Awards

American Cinematographer, May 1976 | Go to article overview

Academy Scientific or Technical Awards


A fitting tribute to the men behind the men behind the camera, whose technical and scientific achievements make motion pictures in their modern form possible

To the average filmgoer, the "magic of the movies" is personified by film stars and an occasional director loaded with charisma, such as Alfred Hitchcock, Audiences are not concerned about the mechanics involved in putting their favorites on the screen and this is as it should be. But to those engaged in the actual making of film, those mechanics are of utmost importance, because without them, there would - quite literally - be no movie stars nor indeed, a film industry. The simple fact is that (including television) no other art form has been so completely dependent upon technical elements to express its artistry. That is why those engaged in this industry stand in special awe of the men behind the men behind the cameras - those engineers and technicians who invent and develop and improve the devices which make films and television possible. This, too, is the reason why the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences sees fit to honor these men in a specific way by granting awards for Scientific or Technical Achievement.

Realizing that such awards are of little interest to the general public, the Academy, quite wisely, no longer makes such awards on the televised annual Academy Awards Presentation, but honors the recipients at a special presentation ceremony.

This year that ceremony was held on March 24 in the lobby of the Academy's magnificent new headquarters in Beverly Hills and was presided over by Academy President Walter Mirisch, with the participation of Director William Friedkin.

The awards were voted by the Academy Board of Governors from the recommendations made by the Scientific or Technical Awards Committee, of which Wilton R. Holm is Chairman.

The following awards were presented:

CLASS I [Academy Statuette] NONE

CLASS Il [Academy Plaque]

To Chadwell O'Connor of the O'Connor Engineering Laboratories for the concept and engineering of a fluiddamped camera-head for motionpicture photography.

The O'Connor fluid camera-head provides the operator with a motiondamped camera-support to effect smoothness in camera panning and tilting. The adjustments make it possible to apply the proper drag to prevent sudden starts, stops or jerks in motion-picture photography.

To William F. Miner of Universal City Studios, Inc. and the Westinghouse Electric Corporation for the development and engineering of a solid-state, 500 kilowatt, direct-current static rectifier for motion-picture lighting.

This rectifier provides 500 kilowatts of direct-current power by use of solid-state components. It is engineered to supply low-ripple direct current with precise voltage regulation. It incorporates circuitry for paralleling with other rectifiers or generator sets. …

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